Time and again, we see people being elevated, announced and spurred on through social media. We also see some other people being pulled down, relegated and discouraged. Where exactly is the balance?
Social media refer to platforms and applications that are available to enable users create and share contents, and also to make the world a global village. It enables linking and connection of individuals in their numbers, within a particular location—as well as over nations and continents. Social media provide opportunities for new skills to be learnt, information to be acquired, and very importantly, for communication to be enhanced. In the right hands, social media can be tools for massive positive impact—as well as tools for destruction—in the hands of the wrong people.
There are various examples of social media and each medium has its uniqueness: WhatsApp and Telegram which are used mainly for chatting and sharing files, Instagram for pictures, YouTube and Tiktok for videos, and a host of others too numerous to mention.
As a teenager who has access to the social media platforms mentioned above, I can boldly say that social media can indeed make or mar one’s personality. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, I have had to be ‘ostracized’ from the rest of my peers due to the limitation of movements and the lockdown of schools and other social gatherings.
However, the connectivity that social media bring has helped me live up to my outgoing nature by maintaining relationships and communication with friends. Thus, this has kept my social life up to par. I can chat with my friends on WhatsApp and attend virtual birthday parties on Zoom. Somehow, it feels like nothing really changed. All thanks to social media.
Let’s talk about the level of awareness and exposure that social media bring. I have successfully kept myself abreast with the happenings around the world—for example, the safety precautions on Coronavirus being doled out by the WHO and the government. This has helped me stay informed and stay safe. Also, my inquisitive nature remains continually fed. All my questions are answered via any of the platforms that can be of help at the time I need them.
To keep my mind from being idle, and because I have grown to be studious, I source for information and learn about new things on YouTube. I watch lots of Do It Yourself (DIY) videos and brush up on my knowledge of Physics, Chemistry, etc. Telegram also affords me the opportunity to be a part of my school’s online classes—thus, keeping my knowledge tank constantly full.
Lastly, on the positive impacts of social media on my personality, is the opportunity to be a part of this essay competition which I got to know about on Instagram. Social media have given the organizers an opportunity to run a noble cause—and me, an opportunity to benefit.
Since a coin has two sides, anything with advantages will most likely have some disadvantages, and social media are certainly not any exception. To begin with is how easy it is for me to unknowingly get addicted. For instance, I find myself glued to Tiktok for hours. I notice I now prefer to spend my free time by myself with my phone, unlike my former habit of spending it with my family.
This is simply because there are so many activities, posts, and trends on social media that are captivating and intriguing which I won’t want to miss. Also, when it comes to chatting, I feel that if I’m not online to reply messages on time, it might be disastrous. This leads to addiction, waste of time—and sometimes, waste of resources.
Lastly, I find out that I tend to compare myself with other people—especially teenage celebrities. This makes me discontent sometimes. I feel pressured to want to live up to their standards and be like them.
In conclusion, I can now more clearly see how social media have in many ways changed and highlighted some qualities in me. I now know that I must be more careful about my social media engagements and more intentional about using it for personal development._____